Ward Plaza returning to roots with interior renovation
ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - An interior renovation at The Ward Plaza has begun, and it will bring hotel rooms back to the historic downtown building.
The original Ward Plaza & Hotel was opened in 1897 by Alonzo Ward, who arrived to Aberdeen with just a nickel in his pocket.
”He started with a lunch counter, which evolved into a restaurant, which evolved into a hotel. Unfortunately, that hotel burned down on Thanksgiving Day. He wasn’t one to give up. He rebuilt and built better and this new hotel was built in 1928,” said Marianne Marttila-Klipfel of the Dacotah Prairie Museum in Aberdeen.
The Ward family owned the hotel for 80 years. The current six-story building has changed ownership several times since.
In the early 2000s, the original 90 hotel rooms were converted into apartments and condos. In 2017, the second-floor ballroom was converted into office space.
The new renovations will move the historic building forward, while nodding to the past.
According to a news release from Hub City Downtown, LLC, the second floor of The Ward will be converted into a boutique hotel with 18 suites and rooms.
Marttila-Klipfel says she’s excited to see history being revitalized downtown.
”We’re in the business of history. We love bringing history back, and to have it come full circle and serve in that capacity again, it’s fun to see those roots appear again. It was a gem on Main Street, so it’s fun to see these old buildings on Main Street be appreciated and remodeled and revitalized as the gems that they once were and can continue to be,” said Marttila-Klipfel.
According to Hub City Downtown, the first floor of The Ward will also be renovated. Roma’s Restaurante will move to the northwest corner of the first floor and expand in size. Two retail spaces and main-level bathrooms will also be located on the first floor.
Other renovations on the first floor will provide, “an updated look, paying homage to the history of The Ward,” according to the news release.
The renovations are expected to be complete by December of 2022.
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